Unlike the university, the businesses of Athens remain open for business during winter break.
Many local restaurants and businesses experienced a change in their customer base during the break and a slight change in their business hours.
Bagel Street Deli, 27 S. Court St, for example, closed an hour earlier than usual.
“It's a lot slower, but we get a lot of local people that come out and more travelers,” Michael Wasko, an employee at Bagel Street said. “It is nice to see a lot of different faces.”
Other businesses, like the Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St, see a difference in their customer base and react by tailoring their business to the audience they receive during the break.
“Our special events tend to get really great attendance and we don't have those going on, but we do have still have a lot of community coming out,“ Alexandra Kamody, the director of the Athena, said. “So, we still have robust attendance from our community members and a lot of our regulars.”
Kamody also said the Athena changes the timing of some of its showings to fit better with the audience that they are receiving at the time.
“The student population isn't here, so sometimes that does factor decisions we make where we say basically if 90% of the community is gone, is this film really gonna work for now or could we actually wait and get it back later in the semester?” Kamody said.
The Athena doesn’t necessarily see a great reduction in customers, Kamody said, but it sees a more notable change during move-in and move-out weekends.
The Pigskin Bar and Grille, 38 N. Court St, also gets a greater increase in local customers, as well as an increase in catering during the holiday season.
“We still do get some college students over break, but really our catering business over break really helps the Pigskin out in terms of business, just because we do so many holiday parties and different types of events over winter break, such as our toy drives and things like that,” said Chris Roach, the general manager of The Pigskin.
The Pigskin also changes its hours, opening at 5 p.m., instead of 4 p.m., during the week.
Like the Pigskin, Ciro didn’t have a drastic change in business during the break.
“I had a sales forecast budget and we exceeded it,” co-owner Francis McFadden said. “It's kind of interesting phenomena. Students go away and the locals are coming back and ‘taking over the town’, which I think is a very odd saying, but we did get a lot of business and a lot of new business.”
Instead of having a specific reduction of hours, Ciro started a policy of closing early if there was no business after a certain hour.
“If we didn’t get any business for the whole hour after eight o'clock, we would close early. We did that because I did notice that regardless of the business we got, it was a little bit earlier in the day and the town kind of closed up about eight o'clock. So we find ourselves closing early a few days under our posted hours,” McFadden said.
In addition to hours being changed and having a different clientele during the break, a lot of businesses saw a difference in their employees due to students going home.
“We really do struggle with having students and having staff to stay open, so it does provide us a little relief to sometimes reduce hours a bit by cutting those last shows where we don't get great attendance all the time,” Kamody said.
For Ciro, McFadden said, it can actually work out for his full-time employees when having students gone for the break.
“You kind of manage you've got non-OU students working for you, and everybody's hours retract a little bit during during break.” McFadden said. “The students going home, the good thing about that is that everybody got their hours… so it kind of worked out pretty well.”